Opinions on Conde Naste "Hot Tables"?
Conde Naste's yearly Hot Table list just came out and for London the restaurants listed are:
1. Hereford Road
2. L'Autre Pied
4. Wild Honey
Would you all agree that these are the best "hip" restaurants that opened in London over the past year? There seems to be very little on this board about Texture and L'Autre Pied so it's hard to imagine that it's all that popular!
I'm headed to London next month and I'm looking for fun, lively restaurants. I eat everything and price isn't an object - but I hate stuffy and I hate empty. I'm also a California native and partial to that style of cooking - so not huge on gastropub cuisine. Would any/all of these be good places for me to eat at? Or do you have other suggestions?
Hip is a pretty meaningless term and what may be 'hip' may not necessarily be good which is what you're actually interested in, I assume .
Of the ones you mentioned I've visited all of them except Merkato. Your comments suggest you're looking for light but tasty food in which case Texture and L'Autre Pied probably fit the bill. How popular they are at the moment is moot. L'Autre Pied was the harder res when it opened about five months ago. Texture has an adjoining bar so you could always go for a drink and scope out the menu and the restaurant.
I preferred Hereford Road but it's more of the St John school of cooking which you may not like. Take a look at my post which has an example menu.
Wild Honey is budget French Bistro which I didn't really rate but other people disagree.
St Albans has a new chef since I visited. You may be able to do a walk-in at lunchtime. When I went it was very buzzy with plenty of slebs about - if that floats your boat. Actually, if that's the sort of place you're into also consider The Wolseley (Brasserie) and J Sheekey (Fish) are more traditional foodwise but have a nice atmosphere.
The place missing from that list which I liked and which has gone down very well in London is Hibiscus. In the evening it's pretty buzzy and the food is great IMO. You'll need to book ahead though.
Judicious googling should get you all the reviews on the above but they won't necessarily be current. Also, none of the restaurants are stuffy.
Hope this helps.
Where you are staying makes quite a difference. Chez Bruce is great, but it's 4 miles from central London, and with the terrible traffic that can mean a taxi for 30 minutes/£ 25 each way. For lively you might consider Langans (original one in Stratton Street) or Le Caprice near the Ritz Hotel. Also there is never a dull moment in Pizza Pomodoro on Beauchamp Place near Harrods. Food only adequate, but by 11p.m. the place will be jumping. Live music 7 nights/week and on Tuesdays they have an Elvis act. Not to be missed.
re: Robin Joy
If it's Elvis acts you're after there's only one place: Elvis Gracelands Palace on the Old Kent Road. Haven't been for about 17 years and I doubt the food has improved but for Chinese Elvis fans it's the nuts.
The Old Kent Road on a Saturday night would be pretty er...lively too.
Thanks for the advice! While I'd love to do a tour of restaurants with Elvis, I'm not sure that's what my dinning companions had in mind when they put me in charge of choosing where we'll we eat.
We settled on St.Albans, Barrafina, Benares, L'Autre Pied, and Hibiscus.
I've also heard good things about the exmouth and marylebone farmers markets so we;ll check those out as well (already been to Bourough, Notting Hill, and Pimlico)
We're also staying at Haymarket this time and I'lve never stayed outside of Mayfair - so I'd love any breakfast suggestions (casual cafes, healthy food) you have around Haymarket. Hotel breakfasts are always ridiculously priced!!
I wouldn't go to Exmouth Market (for the market anyway, there are some good restaurants there like Moro and Ambassador) - it's been in steep decline for months and hardly any of the good stallholders are around anymore. You should check out Broadway Market, which is pretty excellent as well.
Marylebone Market is nice if you live in the area, but isn't worth visiting as a tourist. There are better markets to be had. Borough, though crowded, seems atop the list. Spitalfields has its charms. A number of people have recommended Broadway market to me, but I haven't made it yet. BB